Have questions about Markley Cloud? Answers to many common issues can be found here. For additional information, please contact us at sales@markleygroup.com.

FAQ Topics
General
What is Markley Cloud Services SLA?
Where are Markley Cloud Services hosted?

Markley Cloud Services is currently hosted in New England’s highest-density network zone—at the intersection of all major fiber routes in the region. Our data center suites feature a minimum of N+1 infrastructure redundancy, unparalleled electrical distribution systems, access to over 75 network providers, and financial-grade security systems and processes including biometric access control and 24X7 video surveillance. Our data center suites are SSAE16 certified.

I want to better understand how MCS can meet my software testing needs. I have a number of client server test configurations I use for testing purposes. Can I create a machine configuration and suspend it, then go back to it at a later date?

Markley Cloud Services has some ideal options for testing and development including Pay-as-you-Go resource options, customizable templates and catalogs, runtime leases for a wide variety of user roles and permissions, and isolated networking options. With respect to going back to a machine configuration you created but suspended – yes you can go back to the machine whenever you want to and you will pay for the storage it is using.

Pricing
What pricing models do you have?
MCS offers two pricing models:
  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) is a consumption-based model where we meter the usage of CPU processing, memory, storage & network resources on an hourly basis and bill you monthly. You pay only for the resources you consume.
  • Reservation Pool is a fixed price model where we reserve capacity based on your total virtual server requirements. For example, if you have ten VMs which require a total capacity of 20 GHz of processing, 40 GB RAM, and 1TB of storage, then that amount of resources would be pre-provisioned and shared by your VM’s in a virtual datacenter. MCS creates a reservation pool so your organization can consume these resources as you wish. They are secured for your company only. Reservation pools are typically contracted with 1, 2 or 3 year terms and volume-based discounts are available.

You can use both pricing models in a single organization. For example, you can use development and testing in a Reservation Pool and then use PAYG for additional temporary capacity if you need it.

  • CPU processing power
  • GB of RAM
  • GB or TB of storage
  • Bandwidth per GB – charged on data transfer in and out of our network.

MCS customers subscribing to a pool of resources have the ability to create the exact sized virtual guest within the pool instead of having to select a pre-defined instance. This allows our customers to leverage resources in a much more cost-effective and efficient manner.

Licensing
Is Microsoft Windows licensing included in the templates?

Customers have the ability to deploy Windows Server from MCS templates for a monthly fee, which may vary depending on which edition of Windows.

Do you have additional Microsoft licenses or do I need to bring my own?

Markley Cloud Services is a Microsoft partner with access to SPLA licensing, which means you don't need to provide Windows licensing. MCS can also provide additional licenses such as SQL Server, Exchange, or Terminal Server on a monthly subscription model.

Operating system support
What operating systems do you support?

We support many distributions of Linux as well as Windows 2003 or greater. A full list of the operating systems we support can be found in VMware's Guest OS Compatibility Guide.

What editions of Microsoft Server do you support and what is the cost?

Markley Cloud Services uses SPLA licensing within our infrastructure allowing customers to lease any version of Windows Server on a monthly basis.

Interoperability
Can I simultaneously leverage my local capacity as well as MCS capacity?

Yes. Whether you have resources local to your office or resources colocated at our facilities, MCS gives you the ability to connect your environment to MCS cloud infrastructure using a number of secure methods such as site-to-site VPN or virtual cross connect.

With your solution, is it possible to upload our own .iso files and boot the servers on the cloud from such iso images?

Yes, a customer can utilize an .iso file by uploading it from a local environment to a private catalog within vCloud Director then mounting it to an existing or new VM. This enables you to boot from or install an OS as you wish.

Architecture
What underlying software is used to deliver Markley Cloud Services?

MCS is a VMware Service Provider and Markley Cloud Services is powered by VMware vCloud technology including:

  • VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus
  • VMware vCloud Director
  • VMware vShield Edge
  • VMware vCloud Connector
What underlying hardware is used to deliver Markley Cloud Services?

MCS uses enterprise-class blade servers, storage systems and networking hardware from major manufacturers. Markley Cloud Services[LINK] physical infrastructure and services are designed and implemented with no single point of failure, featuring a high level of redundancy and performance. The data center network is based on an end-to-end 10Gbps fabric with multiple 1Gbps links to upstream providers. Additional architectural details can be provided by your Markley Cloud Services Solutions team.

Does your cloud environment use a secure multi-tenant architecture?

Yes. Markley Cloud Services is built using a secure multi-tenant cloud infrastructure. Our public cloud offerings are designed with security and isolation at the forefront. All customers are provisioned with dedicated VLANs, resource pools, and SAN volumes. Markley Cloud Services customers have the ability to assign virtual data center access rights to end-users via role-based access control within the self-service web-portal.

Does your cloud infrastructure feature a redundant configuration to tolerate any single equipment failure and ensure high availability?

Yes. All MCS cloud infrastructure and services can tolerate at least one failure. Power, cooling, security, and generators are maintained and managed by SSAE16 certified facilities in the United States. MCS network infrastructure features redundant paths and devices sitting in the core, edge, and distribution. All ESXi hosts are provisioned in HA clusters with Enterprise Plus. All storage uses redundant controllers and data paths and utilizes RAID for performance and resiliency.

Do my virtual resource pools run on customer-dedicated physical servers or on shared physical servers?

Customer workloads run in virtual machines on shared ESXi clusters separated logically by virtual datacenters (vDC) or resource pools for each customer. VMware provides security features that enable complete isolation between customer VMs and virtual networks. For customers requiring dedicated physical resources, please contact MCS Professional Services for further consultation.

Management
Who deploys and manages the cloud resources within a virtual datacenter, MCS or the customer?

MCS provisions the resource pools and virtual networks within the customer’s organization, which the customer may access via a web-based portal in order to create, modify, and delete virtual machines, users, and networking within their environment. This model is ideal for customers looking to outsource their IT infrastructure but keep control and management of their cloud environment.

How would an end user access their app in the cloud?

End users can have two types of access to virtual resources within Markley Cloud Services. The first is through the web portal allowing the end user to have console access. This option is most common for management and patching capabilities. The second is to provide WAN-based or private network connectivity by opening up specific ports or protocols within the vShield Edge virtual firewall, which is ideal for public access needs.

What management tools will work with MCS’s IaaS environment?

Customers have access to a vCloud Director web portal, which allows them to manage the provisioning, modification, or deletion of servers, networking, or portal users. If customers have additional agent or network-based monitoring or management tools they will be able to use these autonomously. Management or monitoring tools requiring host, SAN, or vCenter access are not available for customer use.

Do you host and manage databases?

MCS supports many types of relational databases including SQL and Oracle but we leave it up to the customer to manage their own databases. For customers needing database licensing, MCS can provide Microsoft SQL licensing at a monthly cost. Customers are responsible for managing their operating systems and applications including SQL/Oracle.

Can servers and applications be deployed and managed programmatically with scripting?

Yes, Markley Cloud Services supports the vCloud API, which is an easy-to-use, RESTful programming interface. Using the vCloud API you can perform almost any function programmatically from a script including starting and stopping vApps and VMs, deploying new vApps, configuring vApps and other functions. For additional details see the vCloud API documentation.

Self-service
How do you see the console?

Within Markley Cloud Services a user can open a console to virtual guests by going to the "My Cloud" tab and clicking on the thumbnail of the server for which they want to open a console window. Click here to see a list of supported OS/browser combinations.

How do we access our infrastructure securely?

The built-in virtual firewall (VMware vShield Edge) has an IPsec VPN capability that can allow for tunnels to be created between Markley Cloud Services and a remote data center/office. The tunnel uses IPsec standards such as 3DES or AES that most standard virtual or physical firewalls support. Additionally, those customers who are colocating with us have the option to establish a dedicated physical link to their infrastructure on site for the utmost in security and performance.

How long does it take to launch a server?

Virtual machines deployed from preconfigured templates are ready for use just minutes after being added to a vApp and powered on for the first time.

Templates
What about when you provision an OS from a template - what software is included?

The base OS is included for whatever server is being deployed e.g. CentOS, Windows Server. Once deployed, management of the OS as well as any applications that may be installed are the responsibility of the customer. MCS can provide some application licensing at an additional cost.

Can we upload our templates into the vCloud environment?

Customers can easily upload existing templates to MCS using one of three different options. The self-service interface allows users to upload an OVF template through the Catalogs tab in vCloud or by using vCloud Connector. Those who want to reduce transit costs or save time for large images may send a portable device containing your data to MCS.

Do you have predefined images we can deploy? Does it scale up/down easily?

For customers using the vCloud environment there is an entire portion of the environment dedicated to the management of templates in the Catalog tab. The Catalog tab contains two types of catalogs – Public and Private. The Public Catalog contains a list of pre-provisioned templates created by MCS and made available to our customers for immediate consumption. The Private Catalog allows users to import their own templates or create new templates for their own use.

The process is highly scalable. Deploying new vApps or virtual guests in vCloud Director is as simple as selecting from either a public template, a private template or choosing to build a new machine by hand. Machines built by hand can be turned into templates for future deployments.

Networking
Do you support load balancing, and what type?

MCS offers a few load balancing methods for customers that require high availability for web-based applications. MCS provides licensing and management of A10 Networks load balancers using partitions. Users can also enable HTTP load balancing via vShield Edge.

Do you support virtual firewalls?

Markley Cloud Services use VMware's vShield Edge virtual firewall natively, which allows stateful packet inspection, NAT, and site-to-site VPN.

What options do I have for connectivity?

All MCS cloud datacenters have burstable capacity for VMs of up to 1Gb per second on our Non-Stop Network. Additional connectivity options include the ability for a customer to use a virtual cross connect to connect directly to their existing infrastructure colocated in our facilities.

Can I set any IP on the internal network?

All Markley Cloud Services customers have access to complete dedicated and isolated firewall appliances and subnets. This means the customer can select any internal range for their networking needs.

How much bandwidth can be provided?

1TB outbound traffic is included in your monthly bill. Customers may subscribe to additional bandwidth for an extra fee.

What network topologies can be deployed inside my virtual datacenter?

Markley Cloud Services has a number of standard networking options to fit your needs.

  • Direct Internet Access - Workloads are configured with globally-routable IP addresses and are connected directly to the Internet without any perimeter security.
     
  • Network Address Translation (NAT) - Workloads reside on RFC1918 non-routable IP address space and can access the Internet via NAT to a globally-routable IP address. Additional self-service network services are available using this topology such as NAT, SPI firewall, IPsec VPN, and HTTP/S load balancing.
     
  • Isolated - Workloads reside on RFC1918 non-routable address space that is not directly accessible from any other network.
     
  • MCS Connect - Physically connect your network into MCS for increased security and performance. Layer 2 access mode or 802.1Q VLAN trunking. Use your own IP addresses on MCS workloads wi thout traversing the Internet. Get LAN speeds, zero latency, and zero bandwidth charges!*
Direct Internet Access
Direct Internet Access
Network Address Translation (NAT)
Network Address
Translation (NAT)
Isolated
Isolated
MCS Connect
MCS Connect Direct
MCS Connect
MCS Connect NAT
What options are available for high throughput/frequency transactions?

Markley Cloud Services has a number of standard networking options to fit your needs.

  • Full-feature load balancing with SSL offload and Web Application Firewall
  • High-capacity firewall
  • Network Address Translation
  • SSL and IPsec VPN